Repent Or Perish (ch. 13:1 - 9)
This chapter begins with certain men telling Jesus that Pilate
killed some Galileans. These Galileans were Jews who were at the Temple
sacrificing. While in the process of the sacrificial ceremony Herodís
soldiers apparently came in and murdered these Jews on the spot, which
resulted in their blood being mixed with the blood of the animal
These men might have made this report to Jesus because He Himself
was a Galilean.
Jesusí response might suggest another reason why these men told
Jesus about this event, something that Herod had done before. Jesus asked
these men if they thought that the dead men were worse sinners than others
since they had suffered thus. Many people felt, as some do even today,
that suffering like this is a result of sin in a personís life.
Jesus clearly and absolutely stated that sin was not the reason why
these people died. Furthermore, if these men who brought this report to
His attention did not repent, they would end up in the same boat. That is
to say, they would perish in the long run. The perishing that Jesus is
speaking about here is eternal perishing. Physical death is simply passing
from one form of existence to another, and when and how that took place
was not important. Repentance was important, because that determines oneís
eternal destiny. Jesus believed and taught the importance of repentance,
that is, turning directions, turning your life over to God through Jesus.
This truth is often neglected in the modern gospel, yet one cannot have
true faith without repenting. If you do not turn from the direction in
which you are heading, how can you walk in faith towards God. You cannot
walk east and west at the same time. If you are walking west and you want
to walk east, you must first turn around. This turning is called
Jesus mentioned another event in His response. He reminded those who
asked the original question of the Tower of Siloem falling and killing 18
men. Jesus asked the same question, "do you think they were more
guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem"? (ch. 13:4)
Jesus answered His question with the same answer. No, those 18 men
were not more guilty. Simply put, bad things that happen in oneís life
is not a reflection of bad things done by that person. We live in a fallen
world, and bad things will happen to us as a result. There is no way
around that. We cannot judge a person by the things that happens to them.
Obviously, what we sow we reap. So some bad things that happen to us
are a result of bad choices we make. Yet many bad things happen to us that
are beyond our control. These come about because of the fallen world in
which we live.
In the remaining part of this section Jesus tells a story. A man
planted a fig tree in a vineyard. He put someone in charge of the tree and
the vineyard. The owner noted that for 3 years this fig tree did not
produce fruit so he asked the man looking after it to cut it down so it
wouldnít waste nutrients in the soil. The man in charge of the vineyard
suggested waiting one more year. During the year he would dig a trench
around the tree, water and fertilize it well. If it didnít produce fruit
then, heíd cut it down.
There has been speculation to what the vineyard is, what the fig
tree is, and who are the men involved. Many suggest the fig tree is
actually Jerusalem, and the vineyard is Israel in general. We should at
least be able to say that the fig tree speaks of Israel, since that is
pretty clear from Scripture. Whether the tree is Israel or Jerusalem it is
clear that those involved did not produce fruit. In context the fruit
spoken of here is repentance, for that is what Jesus has been speaking
Israel, and Jerusalem in particular (symbolizing Jewish leadership)
had not come to repentance. Jesus has not found repentance in Israel so He
is ready to cut the tree down in judgment. Paul speaks about something
similar in Rom. 9 through 11.
God is not afraid to cut down, or to destroy and rebuild what He has
originally built. God had no problem cutting off Israel, His chosen
people, from Him. He had no problem destroying Jerusalem in judgment, as
He did in 70 AD. God has not changed, what He did then to Jerusalem, He
can do now to the church. If the church fails to repent, fails to change
and follow Jesus implicitly then God will judge the church, cut her off
and build a new church that will be offered a chance to produce fruit.
A Crippled Woman Healed On The Sabbath (ch.
13:10 - 17)
Even though the conflict between Jesus and the Jewish leadership has
escalated greatly, they are still allowing Him to teach in their
synagogues, as is the situation in this section. One possible reason for
allowing Jesus to teach has already been stated. The Pharisees and the
lawyers of the Law wanted to trap Jesus in the things He said and did.
On this particular Sabbath day there was a woman who was crippled.
Luke tells us that the source of her problem was a spirit. It is debatable
to suggest that all sickness and disease is demon related. I donít
believe Scripture teaches this, yet at the same time, Luke tells us that
this illness that this lady had was caused by a demon.
As stated earlier in my commentary, some suggest that people often
thought that illnesses were demonic in those days. It was just their
unlearned way of understanding the cause of sickness. To suggest this is
to suggest that Jesus went along with misunderstanding. I donít believe
that Jesus could have such a misunderstanding. If Jesus recognized this
ladyís problem to be from a demon, then it was from a demon.
Once again, there is no formula to healing, and no formula to
casting out demons. Jesus, in this instance does not speak to the demon.
He only calls the lady to the front of the room and told her that she was
better as He laid hands on her. She immediately straightened up and was no
In verse 14 Luke tells us that the synagogue ruler was
"indignant". He said that there were 6 days of the week when man
could work, so come and get healed on one of those days, not on the
Sabbath. It is difficult for me to understand that in this cases Jesus or
the lady did any work. All that Jesus did was lay hands on a lady. The
lady did absolutely nothing, other than to stand up straight.
In verse 15 we see Jesusí response, and as usual of late, He calls
the Jewish leaders "hypocrites". He continued and said,
"doesnít each of you on the Sabbath untie his oxÖand lead it out
for water" This rulers did more to get to the synagogue than Jesus
did in healing this lady. The synagogue ruler was a complete hypocrites.
Jesusí logic was that if the Jewish leaders could look after an
animal on the Sabbath, then a human being, and even a daughter of Abraham
should have the privilege to be set free from satan on the Sabbath. Jesus
makes only good common sense.
We also should note that Jesus attributes this illness to satan in
His response to the Jewish leaders. He may not have cast out a demon by
saying so, but He did cast the demon out by merely laying His hands on
This section ends by Luke telling us that the leaders "were
humiliated", while the people, the congregation were very happy
because of the healing that took place.
The Jewish leaders felt threatened by Jesus. They felt humiliated by
Jesus in front of their people, and Jesus had no problem humiliating them
publicly. This type of thing among Jewish leadership in Jesusí day can
still be seen in the church today. Men wanting to build there own kingdoms
are upset with the work of Jesus in many respects.
The Parables Of The Mustard Seed (ch.
13:18 - 21)
In verse 18 Jesus asked, "what is the Kingdom of God
like"? He doesnít wait for an answer. He gives the answer Himself.
Jesus said that the Kingdom of God was like a mustard seed that was
planted in the ground that grew up into a tree and the birds landed on its
limbs and ate its fruit.
Jesus doesnít explain what He is talking about here but it is
pretty clear. He is the mustard seed. His death is the seed being planted
into the ground. The seed pushes up out of the ground in the resurrection
and ascension. Branches are added to the plant when the Holy Spirit comes
to Godís people. The result of the Holy Spiritís arrival is the fact
that fruit is produced, and this fruit is for those passing by. Christians
as individuals, and the church in general should produce fruit, and this
fruit is a direct result of the Holy Spiritís involvement in both the
individual and the church at large. This is why Paul describes the fruit
as "the fruit of the Spirit". If there is no fruit of the
Spirit, we can conclude that the Holy Spirit is not being allowed to do as
He pleases. Therefore, to the degree in which we allow the Holy Spirit to
have His way in our lives, and in our church lives, will be the degree of
fruit that will be available for those who need it.
In verses 20 and 21 Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to yeast that
a lady puts in bread. A small portion of yeast buried in dough can make
the dough rise into a large loaf.
In both analogies something small becomes something much larger and
productive. Growth is a vital part to the Kingdom of God. This growth
began with Jesusí death, resurrection, and ascension. It continued on
with the giving of the Spirit. It is Jesusí intent that the Kingdom grow
and become fruitful and productive.
The Narrow Door (ch. 13:22 - 30)
In verse 22 we note that Jesus "went through the towns and
villages as He made His way to Jerusalem". In one of these towns
someone asked a good question. They asked, "Lord, are only a few
people going to be saved"? We can ask, "saved from what"?
We as Christians are saved from many things, but the number one thing we
are saved from is Godís wrath, because His wrath was poured out on Jesus
while He was on the cross. For those who reject the cross how much more
angry will God be. If God was upset enough to kill His Son, how much more
upset will He be to those who reject His provision made on the cross.
Jesus answered by saying that many will try to enter by the narrow
door. Two things to note here. One is that the door is narrow. This means
that there is only one way to pass through the door. Jesus is the door,
and you cannot get into the Kingdom other than going through Jesus. There
is no other way. There is no other door. The door is certainly not wide
enough to let those in who want to come in by other means. Then secondly,
there are many who try to enter by other means, and through other names,
but their attempt will not work.
Consider the millions of people over the centuries who have tried to
be saved, tried to enter Godís Kingdom and escape His wrath through
other religions. They havenít, and they will never enter in unless they
repent and acknowledge that Jesus is the only door keeper.
At some point this door will be locked by the owner of the house.
God the Father is the owner of the house, and Jesus is door keeper. Now,
during the age of Godís grace the door is open to anyone who comes in
the name of Jesus, but at some future date, the door will be closed for
good. Once the door is closed many will be outside pounding away at the
door to get in.
In verse 25 Jesus said that the door keeper will say "I donít
know you Ö" It will be too late for anyone to enter after the door
is shut and locked.
In verse 26 the people knocking at the door after it is locked tell
Jesus that they ate and drank with Him and He taught them in their
Jesusí reply will be the same. "I never knew you Ö go away
you evildoers". Both in Judaism in the Old Testament times, and
Christianity in New Testament times there will be many who heard the
gospel, ate and drank in churches but were not true believers. Just
because someone sits in a church pew, or eats a meal in a church building
does not mean He is a true Christian.
Jesus speaks to what it is like outside the door. He said that
people will be gnashing their teeth and weeping. It will not be a happy
place to be.
In verse 28 Jesus spoke of the future Kingdom of God where Abraham
and Jacob and the prophets of old will be, yet the present generation of
Jewish leaders will only see them from a distance because they will be
locked out of the Kingdom.
Jesus continued by saying that there would be people from the east,
west, north and south, sitting and eating at the feast in the Kingdom of
God. Then in verse 30 he said that the last will be first and the first
will be last. Jesus is saying that ordinary people, ordinary Jews of the
day who gave their lives to Him would be at that feast. But the important
people of the day, the Jewish leaders would be outside starving.
This tells me something. We should never do anything in Godís
service to be seen and recognized. If we go quietly about doing Godís
will, He will reward us in this future Kingdom. The problem is that many
do Godís work simply to be seen and heard and recognized. These peopleís
work will be burned with fire.
So what really was the answer to the original question concerning
who and how many people would be saved? We donít know the statistics.
That is to say, Jesus didnít give a percentage of how many people would
end up in the future Kingdom of God. What He said was that many will try
to enter the Kingdom but wonít make it, and those who will make it will
consist mostly of ordinary people, not necessarily important leaders or
Jesusí Sorrow For Jerusalem (ch. 13:31
In verse 31 the Pharisees suggested to Jesus that He should leave
because Herod was out to kill Him. Were these particular Pharisees truly
concerned about Jesusí well being? It is hard to say. Maybe some were,
then maybe they just wanted to get rid of Him. Maybe they were tired of
His teaching that always seemed to put them down.
Verse 32 is interesting. Jesus replied by saying, "go tell that
fox, I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on
the third day I will reach my goal". Jesus is now calling the Roman
leaders names, and in this instance the name is "fox". Once
again, we see Jesusí disgust with leadership that has gone astray. Jesus
was very hard on leaders, whether they were Jewish or Gentile.
It is clear that the reference to His goal that would be achieved on
the third day is the resurrection. We know that today after the fact, but
I donít believe those listening to Him understood those words. They were
probably more stunned by Jesus calling Herod a fox.
Then Jesus said that He must keep going on towards Jerusalem because
no prophet could die outside of Jerusalem. The irony in this is that
Jerusalem was supposed to be the city of God, where the Temple was, the
centre of Jewish faith, but it was the place where many of Godís
prophets were killed.
Jesus had just spoken about the resurrection, and now He speaks of
His death in terms of a murder, as the prophets of old were murdered. All
these murders, including Jesusí death were done in the name of God. Many
people have been killed in the name of God throughout the centuries.
I will quote the next words that Jesus utters. He has been very
upset with the Jewish leaders, but He is more than upset. He has great
sorrow over the Jewish people, and especially those who live in Jerusalem,
the city of God. He said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the
prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather
your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but
you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell
you, you will not see me again until you say, "blessed is He who
comes in the name of the Lord".
The day in which Jesus spoke about when they would call Him blessed
is the day in which He finally arrives in Jerusalem with a great crowd of
people cheering Him on.
You can certainly see the compassion and the love Jesus had for the
Jewish people, and even the leaders. That is why He was so upset with the
Jewish leaders. They were refusing to follow the ways of their own God.
They were failing to recognize the Messiah that they long awaited for. The
result would be that their house would be left desolate, which was the
case after 70 AD when Jerusalem was totally destroyed. Jews lost their
city, the city of their God. They were scattered throughout the world, and
a nation of people without a nation.
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